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We are alerting local landlords who manage houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) to important forthcoming HMO property licensing changes.

From 1st October 2018 all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) with 5 or more occupiers living as 2 or more households, must have a HMO Licence from their local authority. Where a HMO is occupied by less than 5 people, it will not require a licence.

The Government have introduced this change to widen out the scope from the previous HMO licensing regime, which only applied to HMO properties of three storeys or above. 

When assessing a licence application, the Council will consider the suitability and condition of the building for the number of proposed occupiers, as well as the suitability of the proposed licence holder.  Applicants will need to demonstrate that fire safety arrangements are in place and adequate, and that the building has sufficient space and amenities.  A list of required documents (such as current gas safety certificate and electrical installation condition report) will also need to be supplied for the application to be a valid one.

Landlords of relevant HMO properties must ensure that they submit an application for an HMO licence to the Council.  Applications can be made by contacting the Joint Environmental Health Service for an application form. Guidance on making an application is also available on the Council’s website. There is an initial application fee of £496 with a further fee when the licence is granted of £111 making a total HMO licence fee of £607 (we are under a legal obligation to split the fee). The HMO licence will last for up to 5 years.

There are significant financial penalties for landlords should applications not be made and if they continue to operate the HMO after 1st October 2018. If landlords do not have a licence, or breach HMO licence conditions, they are committing a criminal offence.

Landlords of properties who are already licensed under the previous HMO licensing scheme do not need to re-apply until their current HMO licence is close to expiry.

For further information please contact Joint Environmental Health Service on 01246 217877.

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